Author Archives: Shawn Doyle

September 20, 2013

The annual meeting of the society was held on Saturday September 14, with nearly 40 people in attendance. Trustees Glenna Gorski, Liz Grant, Margaret Kastler and Erma Schroeder were re-elected for three year terms. Venita Ackley of Parish was elected to represent that town in place of retiring trustee Mary Lou Guindon and Barb Monette of Oswego was elected trustee at large. Three changes to the bylaws were enacted, one changed the dues structure slightly, one formally added Camden to the coverage area and the last dealt with disposition of assets in the event of the society demise. A wonderful meal prepared by Erma Schroeder was enjoyed by all. The building in Richland has been open generally seven days a week since July. Pam Kellogg and Erma Schroeder have been able to pick up hours when regular volunteers cannot make their day. We have had a regular stream of visiting researchers from across the nation, and our membership is again approaching 500. The advertised afghan raffle was conducted on the 14th and the winners were Vic Yerdon of Phoenix and Bev Hargrave of Mexico. Yerdon selected the comforter hand sewn by Glenna Gorski while Hargrave will be awarded the hand-crocheted daisy pattern afghan donated by Doreen Tilton of Florence. Thanks to both trustees for their time and effort with this raffle. The autumn newsletter is being prepared with a goal of October printing. The 2014 calendar “school days past” is also in production. Many other projects are being undertaken by various volunteers that have made this our busiest season in memory. Vice President Monette has been working in the SW classroom with the collections. He has assembled a good collection of military records there. We are looking for Civil War photos and records of service and pension form men who served in our area. We have several copies of pension records from the Civil War, and many photos. We recently were given a fine collection of World War II letters back and forth to a man from Amboy. These letters are being scanned and will be added to the military collection. We have many pension records from the Revolutionary War and continue to add to that collection. Several years ago while we were researching the Weed family of Connecticut we traced out the lines of descent for Revolutionary War soldier brothers Jehiel and John Weed. We were cognizant of another brother, Charles but since he lived and died in Steuben, NY we did little on him. We recently learned that several families in our region descend from Charles, including the Crow and Waterbury families of Redfield. We have added Charles’ pension to our files. The indexing and copying of the George & Avis Widrig obituary collection is nearly complete. The 17,000 plus copies from about 1900-2010 are available for research and copying on our shelves now. Much credit to Pam Kellogg and Erma Schroeder for the work, the office supplies were purchased and donated by Shawn Doyle. With a growing interest in Camden area research we have added cemetery listings for Camden and other material on our shelves. Several of our members have also been working on a book covering Westdale cemetery and its families. Settlement in Camden predates much of Oswego County, and there are a great many Revolutionary War and 1812 veterans in the cemeteries of that township. Half-Shire can be reached at or on face book at Half Shire. Our website at is under construction. Our phone is 298-2986 and we have an answering machine. The facility at 1100 County Rte 48, Richland, NY 13144 (P.O. 73) is open most days 11-3pm,. Call ahead to ensure a volunteer will be present. Fridays are set aside to particularly assist guests.

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October 5, 2012

As the seasons change and move through to the inevitable North Country winter, we at Half-Shire also are hard at work preparing the building and grounds for the cold. Two new high efficiency propane furnaces will be installed in the main hall in the next week. These units come to us largely through the Pulaski Community Fund which awarded our organization $3,000 towards their purchase and installation. The old furnace, an oil unit that was installed in 1997 and came to us second hand, was removed for scrap on Saturday September 29, by Kollin Watson, Rodney Tilkins and Kari Bacon—three students at Pulaski Jr.-Sr. High School. Our thanks go out to these three who worked all day at the dissembling and removal of the unit and associated main duct work. Also over the last weekend, a crew from Oswego County’s Jail community service program did some light cleaning and yard work. The front gardens were also replanted with 120 new tulips and 60 hyacinths, along with hundreds of daffodils. The daffodils have been split from last year, and came to us from Bob and June Walker in Chaumont. We were very saddened to learn of the passing of Richard Corbett of Pulaski. Dick and his late wife the former Irma Warren were both long-time supporters of our organization and together with Irma’s siblings donated a window in 2000. Born in Watertown, Dick worked on the railroad for many years. He was one of the legendary “Corbett boys” known in Oswego city for their keen Irish wit and stories. We will sincerely miss our old friend. We also learned of the passing of Ralph Lundgren last week. Ralph and Betty have been long-time members and supporters of the society. Ralph was known in Pulaski for his years at the Ford dealership on US 11. Our sympathy goes out to Betty and the family. We were pleased last week to win a valuable small leather photo album on ebay that dates back to the 1850s. The album contains a dozen valuable photos of old settlers of the Town of Richland, including Sally Winch Brown, wife of Daniel Brown and daughter of Benjamin Winch the first settler of Pulaski, and first tavern owner. We posted some of the photos on our facebook site and have had a range of comments and emails. One remark current is the uncanny facial resemblance to one of Sally’s 4th great granddaughters Morgan Joss, who coincidently follows in Sally’s very footsteps as a waitress at the Riverhouse—on the site of Winch’s Tavern, two hundred years later. The joss families also own a portion of the Daniel Brown lands along the north bank of the Salmon River in Port Ontario. On Thursday October 11, the Society will host an open house from 6-8pm to showcase the historic Medal of Honor recipient panels compiled by the staff of Senator Patti Ritchie. The Senator has spearheaded a research effort to honor the winners of our nation’s highest military honor who lived in our region, and the panels have travelled around the three county district she represents. The public is welcome to join us for an evening of good company and refreshments. On Saturday October 13 the Society will host the Syracuse chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution for their October lunch meeting. The event was planned months ago to coincide with the setting of new gravestones for local Revolutionary War soldiers John McChesney and Samuel Gibbs, yet despite government letters in June that the markers were “on their way” we have yet to receive them. A program on both men’s lives and the other local vets will be given by Half Shire President and host Shawn Doyle who also serves as registrar for the order. A note to our subscribers and members, we have fallen behind in correspondence of late with research requests. We hope to be caught up in October as time permits. Check out our facebook site under “Half Shire” or our web site Our email remains the same at

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September 28, 2012

The leaves are turning on the trees across the eastern shore region, and our rural roads and communities are drawing an increasing number of weekend tourists. The Salmon have come up the Salmon River and other area stream in great number, and despite lower water are making it upstream. Our facility continues with open hours Wednesday-Sunday 11-3 or by appointment. On weekends we have hosted workers from the Oswego County corrections weekend program, and a good deal of cleaning and lawn work has been caught up thanks to these workers. We should have the “weekenders” through the autumn, and have trained some at copying, sorting material and working with our mailings. Our continued thanks go out to Sherriff Todd and his staff. On Saturday September 22, Shawn Doyle and Chris Sheldon who also are officers of the local Sons of the American Revolution Chapter, spent nine hours pouring over applications and assorted documents. Two of the new applicants have deep roots in our region, and so the Half-Shire Library came in handy. Sgt. Increase Rudd who died in Vermont was the patriarch of the Boylston Rudd family who are quite numerous, and his descendant Randy Rudd who lives in England is seeking to prove this line. On Sunday September 23, while a crew worked at Half-Shire President Doyle, his mother Patsy and Gloria Craig of Pulaski all headed east to attend the annual mass at St. Mary’s Church in Florence conducted by Bishop Thomas Costello. The event was well attended in the historic old Catholic Church that has been lovingly restored; over 100 people filled the sanctuary. Several Half-Shire members were present, including Michael, Martin and Matthew Clark, Thomas and Ann Clark, Amolia Grossman, Dorothy Fey, Stedman and Mary Lou Twiss and I expect a few whom I did not see. This is noteworthy as Half-Shire assisted in getting the word out about the need in 2005, and many of our members stepped up to help save this important historic structure from ruin. It was so nice to see eight stained glass windows fully restored and shining so bright in the passing sunlight. Following mass, many adjourned to the Florence Hotel for a fine chicken and biscuit dinner. Our car also did some leaf-watching, and toured a couple of side roads to view the Graves cemetery keystone bridge, and some areas of Redfield that Gloria had not seen. A good day trip for autumn can be enjoyed in the tri-county region of Oneida, Lewis and Oswego Counties. Over in Osceola, one more weekend of the Fiddler’s picnics will sound melodious tunes across the hills, this past weekend Trustee Erma Schroeder was there in attendance. On Monday September 24, Sharon Turo hosted the Sandy Creek based Outlook Club for tea and a tour of Half-Shire. We were pleased to have these ladies come and spend time at the facility. We learned with sadness of the passing of a former member and friend Jim Barnard last week. Jim was best known as a longtime employee of Niagara Mohawk in our region. Jim’s grandfather invented a “Pinking machine” and manufactured these dressmaker’s aids south of Pulaski on US Rte. 11. Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, Richland, NY 13144 or Our website is and our very popular facebook page can be found under “Half Shire” Our house phone is 298-2986, and internet

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September 14, 2012

On Monday September 17 the Society will host an open house reception put on by the Pulaski Lions Club to mark their 50th anniversary. The group, formed in 1961, has been headquartered at Half-Shire on the second floor since 2001. The President of The lions at the time, Cliff Hilton, Sr. had made the arrangements with Half-Shire President Doyle and then Vice President Bill Brosnan. Brosnan and Hilton collaborated in the renovation of the northwest classroom which has now been home to the Lions for eleven years. We work very cooperatively with this group of civic minded men and women and hope to see them thrive another 50 years! On Satruday September 15th our 40th annual meeting will commence at 1pm following a noon lunch. All four officers are up for balloting as well as Trustees from Osceola/Florence, Orwell and Parish. A trustee at large will be selected also. The slate was presented in August and appears to be composed of those seeking reelection with the exception of the Osceol/Florence seat being vacated by Mary Munz. Doreen Tilton of Florence has accepted the nomination and will join the others on the slate presented by the nominating committee for consideration. All paid members are eligible to vote. On September 9, a group of six workers from the Oswego County jail weekend program spent the day at Half-Shire doing some cleanup work. The lawns had some extra attention and many items inside were rearranged. Thanks to Sheriff Todd and Undersheriff Sullivan for overseeing this very helpful program! Our Secretary Fay Ann Colvin, and Trustee Rita Rombach have both been on the sick list. Our thoughts and prayers go out to both of these valuable officers as they continue on the mend. Fay Ann and her sister Paulette were in town on Sunday to look over work at the building and catch up on affairs. Our Librarian Sharon Turo had been extremely busy learning the intricacies of the Picasa photo program on our computer. The abilities to sort and enhance our enormous collection of images seems only limited by the time our volunteers seem to have! Sharon is available normally on Thursdays and Saturdays from 11-3 and leads our scanning and imaging program. Thanks go out to Tina Noble Plumley of Redfield for the donation of a fine 1909 framed photo of Cora Carr Walker and her three eldest sons. The glass was cleaned up and the frame restored and Cora now graces our entryway at the top of the stairs. Photos can be found on our facebook page. Plumley and her sister Amy Blue have loaned us the extensive collection of their parents photos which have all been scanned and are yet still being sorted. Some of the more interesting shots show “Mac” and Joan Noble on early snow mobiles in Redfield. We are trying to get a newsletter completed and out by months end. An additional mailing will also solicit recipes for our family cookbook as well as member biographies for our member directory planned to be done in 2013. With over 500 paid members we are now the largest Historical Society in Oswego County, and for a large part of the region. Our focus on family research has driven numbers higher as well as our friendly research atmosphere. All credit goes to our volunteers who now staff the building everyday but Monday and Tuesday—and even then appointments can be made! Erma Schroeder of Richland heads the volunteer staff. Some remaining dust and “disorder” reigns in the backrooms as we struggle to sort an overwhelming amount of backlogged accessions from the past couple years, as well as we move forward with piecemeal renovations. Only one room remains in the first floor to be completed, with some work to be done in the main room beginning the last week of September. As this goes to press, we are scheduled to receive the moving exhibit on the Medal of honor recipients from our region. This panel was assembled by Senator Patti Ritchie’s staff under the direction of her “historian in residence” Jim Reagan. Thanks to the Senator and Jim for this work, as well as the Civil War website that has also gained great praise. Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, Richland, NY 13144 or Our website is and our very popular facebook page can be found under “Half Shire” Our house phone is 298-2986, and internet covers our building for wireles

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